Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How to Get Top Dollar for Items You Sell on eBay




This post is contributed by an eBay consignment seller who wishes to remain anonymous.

So you're one of the lucky sellers who has access to incredibly low cost merchandise - whether you are hitting the bins at GoodWill or are super influential at estate sales. Or maybe you volunteer at a thrift and get a discount or inside scoop about upcoming sales.

Whatever you sell, no matter how you buy it - have you noticed how cheaply merchandise can sell for over the past couple of years? High-end electronics, extremely desirable collectibles and similar still demand a good price. But clothing and accessories, the most popular items to source and sell on eBay, often go for insanely cheap prices. I've been a seller for close to 20 years and have watched the competition increase and prices go down. To boot, eBay has added features which show the buyer competing items - similar or identical to yours - which can easily sway a buyer to someone else's item.

That's great for buyers, but not so great for sellers. And while some of us maintain a stance that we will attempt to sell at deep discounts off retail, but in a win-win for seller and buyer but closer to, perhaps, consignment pricing, other sellers who can source items for a few dollars per pound think of it differently. For instance, if your net cost of a high-end dress is under $2, selling it for $15.99 is a 1000% profit, right? That's impressive. Until you think about a few things:

What is your time worth? How long does it take you to evaluate the item, inspect it, photograph it, measure and list it, store it, retrieve it and pack it up? How much does the label cost? We won't factor in driving to the post office as so many folks have doorstep pickup. How about eBay fees?

Let's look at our $15.99 example above and do some math.

15.99 sales price
-2.07 ebay/paypal fees (13%)
-.20 listing depending upon your store subscription
-2.00 purchase price
-2.00 income tax paid on April 15, depending on your bracket and how your expenses factored into your income
_______

9.72 is what you've really made on this item. Unless you offered free shipping. Yikes. Then you're down another 2.50 at least.

Considering that minimum wage is $10.10/hour in my state, you're making under minimum wage on that item, perhaps a little more if all the activities per item take you less than an hour when factored together.

While it's great to make ANY wage while being your own boss, wouldn't it be even greater if you made more? If you considered, rather than net profit on the piece, what the marketplace is willing to pay?

What if we all did that? What effect would that have on everyone's bottom line? Instead of trying to undersell the competition, what if all 20,000 of us on this site collectively took action to raise our collective bottom lines?

I can tell you personally, I have successfully maintained a higher price point and have had success with it. I feel by going for the win-win - the customer is happy with a great deal and quality item, and I'm happy with a significantly higher profit margin - you develop a better reputation than you do when you're giving away the farm. As a marketing director in my full-time job (eBay is an unavoidable addiction), I know that  you diminish the value of your product and your brand when you give it away.

You may disagree with me, and that's certainly your right. But I don't even know you and I know your time is worth a lot more than you're getting if you're lowballing to beat the competition. So take a look at your costs and your time holistically, and consider the impact our community can have if we ask for what we're worth.

Related Articles:

eBay Quick Tips

How $20 in Sales Add Up Over a Year

Huge eBay Seller Controversy

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How to Deal With Slow Summer eBay Sales

It's that time again. Time to regroup and get ready for Back to School and 4th quarter.

If your eBay sales are slow, as they may be during summer, here is some advice in the form of a video. Summer is a slow time for many retail businesses and other industries, don't take it personally. Have patience, it is just a cycle.

Lots of ideas here for how to use this slow time in a productive way. Sales will bounce back, they always do!



If you have not booked your seat for the Dallas Training Event, it is time! Reservations must be made at the hotel (if you plan on staying overnight) by July 1st. Seating is limited for the training, so you don't want to miss it!

Also, now booking for:

Charlotte on August 19 (SouthPark Area)

Orlando on September 16 (Disney Area)




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Join Us in Dallas on July 22 for LIVE in Person eBay Training



We are so excited about our upcoming training in Dallas on July 22.  There was such a large response that we have secured a larger room so that more people can attend. And this was no easy task! I called about 6 hotels before finding one that had any available conference rooms. Lots of weddings, family reunions, and other events taking place so meeting rooms were scarce.

So, here are the details:

WHAT:     8 hours of hands-on training - read all the details here

WHEN:     Saturday, July 22 from 10 AM to 6 PM


COST:       $749 for the 8-hour workshop (Payment plan available - contact me here for info.)

ROOM RATE: We have a special room rate of $125 per night for up to 3 nights. This is a Marriott Suites, so all rooms are suites. Rooms must be booked by July 1 to get this rate. I can send you a direct link to make reservations online. 

Secure your space now so you won't miss this event in Dallas. See what the sellers in Atlanta had to say about this event, or feel free to contact me here with any questions or further details.

See you in Dallas! 





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Feature - eBay Daily Video Tips



Don't have time to read up on eBay information? Well now you can listen. I have added a new playlist on YouTube for Daily eBay Video Tips.

No topic is off limits! These tips are 2-5 minutes long, on a specific topic, straight to the point, with links to facts to back up what I am telling you about. No rambling, no fluff, no lengthy diatribes about this or that - just short, sweet, and to the point information with no background noise or distractions. Real information you can use!

So far I have 15 videos ready - you can just let the playlist run while you work on other things.

I have been selling on eBay since 2003 so I have many years of eBay experiences rolling around in my head that I can share with you to help you make more money on eBay. You know, those "oh by the way" thoughts you get at 2 in the morning...

The playlist is here. If you are not subscribed to my YouTube Channel, make sure to click the red subscribe button so you will get these tips in your email as soon as they are posted.

I am open for suggestions on topics! What do YOU want to know about?

See you on YouTube!

Related Articles:

How to Make $2,000 a Month on eBay - The Math 

Selling on eBay When Thrift Store Prices are Too High

eBay Success Story - Disabled Seller Making it Work

Monday, June 12, 2017

Atlanta eBay Workshop a Success - Next Stops Dallas, Charlotte, and Orlando!


Our Atlanta Live Training was a success! What a great group of people to spend the day with learning about selling clothing on eBay. We even had one student drive all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Atlanta! That is like a 17 hour road trip. She said she wanted to spend the weekend with like minded people and her peeps just happened to be gathering 1,100 miles away so she jumped in the car and drove south!

Testimonials from a few of the attendees:

Linda H. was said this about the workshop:


Linda sold her home in Buckhead that she had been living in for 40 years, and has much of her stuff in storage. She wants to learn more about how to sell her "accumulation" and downsize. 

The Mays drove over from Birmingham for the day, and they had this to say:


It is so nice when spouses are both on board with the business and it can be a family project. The Mays have 3 teenagers to put through college and eBay is how they plan to finance it. 

Beth posted on Facebook:



Melanie P. and Karen drove down to Atlanta from Cleveland, Georgia. Karen works at the post office and was able to answer some of our most burning USPS questions! Melanie works the medical field in vascular health, and has been selling on eBay for 20 years! They stayed in Atlanta and went shopping on Sunday, and texted me this:



We are so thrilled that everyone who came found the information helpful and enjoyed the day. Here was our agenda:



Are you ready for an 8-hour, hands-on, intensive eBay training? Our tour schedule for the next 3 months is:

Dallas, July 22 (Near DFW Airport)

Charlotte, August 19 (South Park area)

Orlando, September 16 (Disney Area)

If you are interested in attending any of these upcoming trainings, read more about the workshop here.

Deposits can be made NOW to hold your spot, as space is limited. Feel free to contact me here if you would like to discuss payment options or need more information. We need at least 10 people per city to commit to guarantee the event will take place. Dallas is already confirmed. 

We are so excited to be able to help you, in person, with your eBay business and are looking forward to meeting you and having a fun and educational eBay day!

Happy Selling,

Suzanne and Melanie

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My $5 Millon Reward from eBay for Outstanding Selling!



So you know those emails you get from eBay, about listings specials or tips? The ones you kind of just glaze over and skim?  Well one of those came in last night and I haven't laughed so hard in a while. I think the neighbors heard me laughing hysterically and probably wondered what was up. Here is the email:


They have raised my selling limits to $5,000,000. I had to count the zeros. 5 million dollars? This just made me laugh. What thrift store picker can ever list this much? I went on my eBay Selling Manager to verify this wasn't some kind of spam or hack, and it is true:


I can list 96,972 more items this month. And it is the last day of May, so it all starts over again tomorrow.  My son and I had a good laugh, like we better get to Goodwill right this second and start shopping. I think I am going to need more storage for the 97,000 items I can list.

What's really funny is that this has been one of my worst months ever on eBay - and they still gave me this astronomical increase. I purposely wasn't listing knowing I was going to be moving due to my personal situation, and have been spending a lot of time getting ready for my traveling workshop trainings. So eBay was on the back burner and I haven't been shopping or listing for a few weeks.

I know some sellers don't even have limits because their accounts are so old, but seeing $5 million dollars as my limit was sort of surreal. But this just shows that if you are consistent, dedicated, give good service, and take care of your business over the years, you can do great things.

If you aren't in my Facebook Group yet (and why aren't you?), come join us. I am posting daily video tips - short 1-2 minute tips - to help you with your business. Come join the conversation! 

Related Articles:

21 Year Old eBay Seller Pays Cash for Car

Be Kind, Everyone is Fighting a Battle

How to Make $2,000 a Month on eBay



Friday, May 26, 2017

Bring a Friend to the Atlanta eBay Workshop for FREE! -Special Offer for eBay Sellers



We are getting close!

Only 2 weeks until my first live event in Atlanta. I am so excited, and working hard behind the scenes to create an event that will educate, inspire, and motivate eBay sellers!

I am really blown away by how far people are traveling to come to Atlanta for this training. I am so honored! And I know it is asking a lot for you to come to me. I also know that nobody likes to travel alone.

So, for this weekend only (through midnight Memorial Day May 29th) when you buy your ticket to the workshop, you can BRING A FRIEND FOR FREE!

This is a great offer for the folks who are already in Atlanta and don't even have travel, or within a few hours drive. If you and your friend split the cost. the price is only $375 a person.

You can recover that investment in less than a week with what I am going to teach you.

The Marriott at Perimeter Center has given us a discounted room rate of $99 per night, so when you split that with your friend, that is only $50 per person.

You both will get 8 hours of intensive training on how to identify and sell high quality clothing on eBay, and learn to make thousands of dollars a month from your own home. (Read all the details of the training here.)

Lunch and snacks are provided. The cherry on top of this great event is that within 3 miles of the hotel are several upscale Goodwill stores where you can go shopping after the training and put your new skills to work. I'll have a list and directions of where to go in Atlanta to find the best items to re-sell, so you can be stocked up and ready to list high-profit items when you get home.

When you register, you will receive a welcome packet with all the info you need about what to expect, yes, what to wear (ladies I knew you would ask that!), and you can send ahead those burning eBay questions.  I have lots of Q&A time built into the day.

You and your travel buddy can make it a weekend to remember (I mean, who doesn't like to come to Atlanta!), and it is a business expense since you are attending for business education.

If you have any questions about the event, or want to work out a payment plan so you can attend, I am more than happy to discuss. You can contact me here - I am always available to answer your questions via email.

This offer is retroactive - so for those of you who have already registered, I will contact you to make sure you don't miss this offer.

So grab a friend, fellow eBay seller, your spouse, or whoever shares your passion for eBay and head to Atlanta!

I am so excited about this event and can't wait to meet you in person!

Related Articles:

Client Testimonials 

More Client Testimonials

Suzanne's Facebook Group - Largest Group for eBay Sellers


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hot eBay Tip: Buyers are Notified When Sellers Use eBay Markdown Manager



Just in case you ever wondered, buyers ARE notified when you run sales on eBay. I don't know the exact process or algorithm, but I have received 3 emails in the last week for items with price reductions. 

Best I can tell, these items were reduced using Markdown Manager. These items were not on my watch list. They were actually items I had viewed when doing store critiques for other sellers. Here are the emails, just to show you:




These items appear to have been marked down using Markdown Manager. See how they say discounted "for a limited time?" 

The first item, the silver dress, has been discounted 25%.

The second item, the teal colored dress, was discounted 10%. 

The doll was discounted 18%.

So this is the buyers' view for these items that were previously viewed.

Moral of the story:

If you run sales using Markdown Manager, buyers who previously viewed the item "may" receive an email notification. 

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Make Money Selling Off Your eBay Death Piles!


We all have them.

eBay DEATH PILES. (I think the eBay Scavengers coined that term, thanks Jay and Ryanne.)

Definition:

Piles of items you bought with the intention of selling on eBay that you haven't listed yet. Often taking on a life of their own, multiplying at night, and the culprit for another phenomenon in homes and storage units called "inventory creep." 

Also known as money you have spent on stuff to sell, that is not working for you, that is just sitting there growing. Your own self-inflicted thrift store in a jumbled up mess in your house. 

Death piles have often been the cause of marital unrest, vanishings of guest rooms, ceilings caving in, and in some cases, have been known to eat pets and small children. Can be dangerous if left ignored.

Ok, so I had fun with that, but you get the idea. The stuff can take over.

One way to get rid of it, keep your marriage intact, find missing pets, and get the money back that you put into those eBay inventory purchases,  is to sell it off in lots in my eBay Buy and Sell Group.

Keep in mind, that while YOU may have unlimited access to all the inexpensive eBay inventory your heart desires, many people don't for these reasons:


They live in a rural area without any thrift stores, or poor quality thrift stores.

They are disabled and physically get out and shop - they need to shop online.

They are caregivers and must be at home with a loved one all day.

They live in an area where thrift store prices are too high to turn anything for a profit on eBay.

They have small children and it is difficult to go shopping.

They work full time and don't have time to thrift.

They are new to eBay and don't know what to buy - they want to buy inventory from an experienced seller. 

They don't have a vehicle and must take public transportation - it is hard to carry much home when you have to ride on a bus or subway.

There are more reasons, but you get the idea. Sellers out there NEED inventory, and they will buy it from other sellers on this group - in fact, they HAVE BEEN buying it for 6 weeks on my group. Here is some feedback from sellers who have purchased lots on the group:








Many sellers have commented that the $50 a month fee is too high, or too risky to try the group, so I am offering a $25 special for a whole month. From today, May 9 - June 9, you can join the group for $25 and post as many lots as you like. 
  • Join the group here
  • Pay the $25 fee at this link and start posting
  • Shipping is figured from your zip code to the buyer's zip code - buyer pays shipping
  • Local pick up is allowed
  • Pay your seller via Paypal 
  • Your post stays up until it sells or you remove it
  • You may bump your post to the top once every 24 hours
  • There are over 1,600 members in the group, about 75% are buyers
  • Your 30 day membership goes from the day you join for 30 days
  • No obligation to stay more than a month - no high pressure sales pitch from me, just come and sell your stuff!
Summer is coming which means kids will be home, vacations will be happening, company is coming, and some folks won't be able to get out and thrift like they used to. They will come to this group to buy YOUR stuff!



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Monday, May 1, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Your listing has been removed: Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Listing Content



Welcome to the wonderful world of VERO on eBay. Have you ever received one of these emails?



VeRO stands for Verified Rights Ownership. Or in plain English:

Stuff you can't sell on eBay, or words you can't use in titles.

It means the company has taken special steps to protect their product from 3rd party sales, or to restrict the use of their trademarked name. Some companies just don't want their items sold on eBay. They feel it devalues the item. Amazon is the same - many companies like Dunkin Donuts and Gillette don't want their items sold on Amazon by 3rd party sellers (us). You just have to accept that and move on.

A few common examples:

Velcro. This word is trademarked and you can't use it in your titles. You can say "hook and eye fastener." And it is ok to use the word Velcro in your description, just not in the title.

Another common one is Onesie. This is a word trademarked by Gerber for the little one piece underwear / outfit for babies. I wrote about the restriction on the word Onesie back in 2013 - see, you gotta read this blog to stay in the know!

If you are selling automotive items or aftermarket parts or accessories, be careful. There are a lot of VeRO violations for automotive items - most sellers just don't know about the rules. Take some time to educate yourself on what is allowed.

Don't stress, it happens. Just follow what eBay says. I had a Simpsons ball cap removed a few months ago for VeRO. I didn't know. No big deal, I just donated it back to Goodwill and moved on.

You can read the full list of VeRO companies here.

Can anybody actually know this whole list? Of course not. Some just have rules for exactly what you can and can't sell under the branded name. Like Frito-Lay. They say you can't sell unauthorized coupons. But you can sell all the Fritos corn chips you want.

Or John Deere. You can sell all the John Deere stuff you want, it just has to be authentic. Do if you list a fake or knockoff John Deere item with their logo used illegally, and they see it, your listing will be removed. Who knows if there are fake John Deere logoed items out there, but anything is possible. (There are fake Uggs, fake Otterbox cases, fake North Face jackets - nothing surprises me anymore.)

These companies just want to preserve the integrity of their brand. It isn't about punishing eBay sellers. It is about keeping their brand pure and not having their image diluted because a bunch of people are making fake items and selling them on eBay.

Related Articles:

eBay Seller Success Story - Consignment Seller Sells $5,500 One Week

eBay Seller Success Story - Kim S. in Hawaii

New Overstock and Liquidation eBay Sellers Group

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

eBay Seller Success Story: Consignment Seller Sells $5,500 in One Week!


Congrats to fellow seller Karen Zumbrun in Louisville, Colorado for her incredible success selling on consignment! Karen shared with us that she had just shy of $5,500 in sales in one week with her eBay consignment business. 

So, your next question is, what does she sell for other people? Karen said, 

"Mostly watches right now but generally sell whatever shows up that is worth my time. I'm going to be listing some high-end dinnerware and sterling silver in the next week or so. I have more clients than I can reasonably handle and am having to turn people away!"

Robert Goins, in Tacoma, Washington, has the same problem. eBay consignment is a huge business and is another way to use your eBay skills to make money without having to buy inventory and wait for it it sell. (Check out my interview with Robert on YouTube here.)

Karen also commented, 

"Oh and I sold over $7,000 in the last month. It was a 3 week month - I spent 10 days lying on the beach in Jamaica."

Just about everything Karen sells is on consignment. Her store has all kinds of items including:
  • Watches
  • Art
  • High end handbags
  • Crystal
  • Designer clothing, shoes, and boots
  • Jewelry
  • Collectibles
  • Books
You can view Karen's store, Art and Other Things, to get an idea of her price points and the kinds of items she sells on consignment. 

Are you ready to get into the consignment game? If you aren't sure, check out my videos explaining the pros, cons, and how-tos of selling on consignment. 




Another way to connect with people who have things to sell, but don't have the desire, skill, or time to list items themselves, is to join my consignment directory. I promote this list heavily with Facebook ads, Google ads, and through other methods. This is what Karen is referring to above when she says "consignment list."

eBay used to have an eBay Trading Assistant Program but discontinued it several years ago. So I created this list to fill that void so when people are searching for eBay sellers, they find my list. The list gets several thousand hits a month - all people looking for an eBay seller to sell their stuff.



Check out the list of sellers here.  And don't worry if there is already another seller in your area, as Karen and Robert said, they are having trouble handling the demand so more than one seller in the same area is not a problem. There is plenty of opportunity for everyone. The cost to join the list is $50 a year - I do not get a percentage of your sales. You just pay a one time fee of $50 and I do all the promoting so people can find you when searching Google for eBay sellers in their area.

I also provide a basic consignment selling contract and a tip sheet, as well as unlimited email support about your consignment business. So if you are new to consignment, I am here to help you.

Congrats again, Karen, for the incredible business you have built! You are proof that "if you build it, they will come!"

Thursday, March 30, 2017

eBay Seller Success Story - Reseller Kim S. in Hawaii




It has been just over 2 weeks since my eBay Overstock and Liquidation Group started, and things are rolling along well for many sellers. But the gold star for sales goes to Kim S., who lives in Hawaii. Kim is also a Virtual Assistant client so we have had a good working relationship for several months and she decided to up her game and explore this new way of making money with eBay inventory. She  has access to high end brands, knows fashion trends, and is a very savvy shopper. Some of her favorite brands to sell include:
 
  • Anthropologie
  • Lululemon
  • Theory
  • St. John
  • Free People
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Escada
  • Nanette Lepore
  • Miss Me
  • Lily Pulitzer

Her $50 investment to sell on the group has paid huge dividends! She has sold 4 lots to date for a total price of $340. Below are  her lots:





Kim's challenge is that she lives in Hawaii, so it costs more to get items from her. She configures her lots to fit in flat rate boxes, to keep shipping costs as low as possible for buyers on the mainland. 

Kim has been an eBay seller since 2012 and currently has 200+ items in her store. She sells over 100 items a month, so she is one smart cookie! Visit her store here. 

I'm sharing Kim's success with you to show how one seller has learned to "work" this new business model. An eBay seller selling items in affordable lots to other sellers who can then resell them for profit. So basically, Kim has become a supplier of higher end items to other sellers who can then turn a profit. Everybody wins!

Kim's $50 investment has produced $340 in sales in just 2 weeks. If you are an eBay seller with access to good quality inexpensive inventory, consider joining this group to connect with other sellers who need inventory. (Check out my detailed video here with all the details of how the group works.) You can more of what has sold here as we are keeping track of the history of lots sold.

I'll be sharing more success stories and how this group is working for other sellers - not just the ones providing the inventory but the ones who have purchased inventory and are selling it on eBay. This is a great way to connect the haves with the have nots.

The group is free to join, and to sell items there is only a low $50 per month fee to connect with hundreds of buyers waiting to purchase your items.You won't pay until you are ready to post your first lot, so come join us and see what this new platform is all about.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New eBay Overstock and Liquidation Buy / Sell Group for eBay Sellers on Facebook


A new concept for eBay sellers! A way to sell excess inventory to other sellers without paying eBay fees, meeting people in person from Facebook groups, or giving up and donating it.

If you don't want to read, watch the video here!



I have started a new Facebook Group specifically to address the issue of connecting eBay sellers who have too much inventory or would rather sell in lots, with other sellers who have challenges getting inventory to sell. It is a win-win for everyone.

Some Sellers Need Inventory


While many sellers have access to unlimited items to sell from local thrift stores, Goodwill Outlets, garage sales, flea markets, or retail clearance, other sellers don't have this luxury because:

  1. They live in an area that doesn't have good thrift stores - they aren't finding the same things you may be finding in a metropolitan area.
  2. They may have physical limitations that prohibit them from shopping - they just need the inventory to come to them.
  3. They may be caregivers and cannot leave home for very long because they care for children, elderly parents, or a spouse. 
  4. Their thrift stores may be over priced, not leaving any room for profit on eBay.
  5. They may not know what to "pick" - they would rather buy lots of inventory chosen by a more experienced seller.

Some Sellers Have Too Much Inventory


On the flip side, maybe you are a seller who has too much inventory and needs to turn some of it into cash, while helping a fellow seller at the same time. Maybe you:
  1. Have access to unlimited eBay-able inventory for really low prices. You know where to find the good stuff for cheap!
  2. Have the flexibility to shop and source any time you want.
  3. Would rather sell inventory in lots to make a quick profit, rather than listing each item individually on eBay. Save time, sell in bulk!
  4. Have a backlog of items you can sell to another seller for a reasonable price, still leaving them room to make a profit on eBay. 

Connecting the Have with the Have Nots!


If you are on either side of this equation, I have the answer! I have set up a new Facebook Group specifically for buying and selling lots of inventory. Here is how it works:
  1. It is set up just like a local Buy Sell Group on Facebook.
  2. Members will be screened - to make sure real sellers are joining. 
  3. Just like my other Facebook Group, spamming will not be tolerated, and I won't allow any pushy liquidation companies or wholesalers - only eBay sellers.  
  4. Members can post photos and a short description of what they have for sale. 
  5. Buyer pays to have the items shipped to them.
  6. Seller sends buyer an invoice. Just like eBay, the inventory isn't shipped until it is paid for.
  7. There are no per-transaction fees. 
  8. Best of all, no eBay rules! Post your ad, set a fair price, state the shipping cost, and connect with buyers.Your target audience will already be there in the group.
  9. Cost to join is for those wanting to SELL is $50 per month, or $300 per year. This is a membership group.
  10. Buyers join for free. 

It is A Safe Way to Buy and Sell Inventory

This is a much safer option than Liquidation.com type companies, buying inventory from China, or buying lots on eBay from people you don't know. Everything I do is with integrity, professionalism, and for the good of eBay sellers. This new group will be the same. It is a great way to connect with other sellers who need inventory, or who have too much inventory and want to sell some off.

Join Now!

You don't pay a fee until you post something for sale. Join us to check it out and see what is being bought and sold. 

I am really excited about this new way of connecting eBay sellers so we can all work together! If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me.

Happy Selling!

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Friday, March 10, 2017

If You are Buying and Not Listing on eBay - You are Hoarding



If you are buying and not listing, you are hoarding.

Truer words were never spoken by Ryanne and Jay over at Scavenger Life.  They often talk about tackling your death piles - those piles of inventory you have purchased but haven't listed yet.

So I have made a new rule on my Facebook group. We are no longer going to allow photos of unlisted inventory, hauls, rooms bordering on hoarding. Let’s focus on what you have listed and sold through the Money Making Monday's posts. Brag about what you have done! 

It takes no skill, dedication, or work ethic to shop and fill up a room with stuff. That isn't want an eBay business is all about. And if you are buying and not listing, that isn't healthy.

Those discussions seem to encourage more hoarding and buying without listing. The mission of this group is to help eBay sellers build and run their businesses. 

You aren't running a business when your focus is shopping and piling up inventory without equal emphasis on listing. 

When you have hundreds or thousands of unlisted items and no strategy to get them listed, that's not an eBay business. That's compulsive shopping. I ethically cannot encourage this.

I'm not talking about folks that live in a rural area and can't find inventory, so they must stockpile during garage sale season. I am talking to the people who know they have a shopping problem, and use the excuse that they sell on eBay. You know who you are. And you know this isn't healthy. Or productive. Or profitable. 

If you really want to tackle those death piles, here are some suggestions.

1. Stop buying. PERIOD. No exceptions. The thrift stores will still be there once your items have been listed. You aren't going to miss anything. Good finds will still be there from now until the end of time. The bargains will still be there. And you will have more money in your bank account to pay for them. 

2. Set an attainable reasonable goal for daily or weekly listing. It is very important to make sure this goal is attainable, because if you set an unrealistic goal, you will fail and give up. You can always do more than the goal you set.  Say 5 items a day, or 30 a week, or whatever you can realistically do. List similar items on the same days. So pick 10 sweaters, 10 hats, or 10 craft kits - and get going. The key is to start and to be consistent. 

3. Calculate the timeframe to get caught up. Make it real, don't estimate. Count the number of items in your unlisted inventory. This may take some doing if your stuff is all piled up. But you have to know what you are up against so you can tackle it. A marathon runner knows he has 26 miles to run and paces himself accordingly. Losing 100 lbs happens a pound at a time. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. You have a huge task ahead of you, but if you break it down into small pieces, psychologically it is more achievable and your attitude will be more positive. So if you have 1,000 items to list, and you commit to listing 50 items week, you can get those items listed in 20 weeks. 

4. Stick to the plan. Use a countdown app like this to stay on track. 

5. Keep a running total of your progress.  Write down on your calendar, a dry erase board, or your notes app on your phone about how many items you have listed. Add to the total every day as you list. Watch the number grow and celebrate the milestones. 

6. Avoid the temptation of thrift stores. If you think you have a thrifting "problem," make some changes to limit exposure to thrift stores. Make a list of places you shouldn't go - where you end up dropping by a thrift store because you can't resist. Choose a healthier alternative that fills the need and is still enjoyable. Walking, cooking, reading, lunch with friends, going to a movie, take a craft class, working in a community garden, doing yoga. Change your routine and stay out of thrift stores. 

7. Ask for support from people who you trust. Maybe it is family, friends, or fellow eBay sellers. Ask them to help you stay on track and don't get mad when they call you out on too much thrifting!

8. Seek professional help. If you think you may have a shopping addiction, seek professional help. eBay may be an excuse for buying.

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Friday, March 3, 2017

How to Make $2,000 a Month Profit on eBay - The Math of Getting to Your eBay Goal



I get this question all the time so it's time for a blog post! When you want to get your eBay business to a certain level of profit (notice I did NOT say sales), you have to work backwards to figure out what is necessary to get you there. 

This is basic math. And if you are not good at math or are confused my math, I have some bad news. An eBay business is all about math. So it is time to learn math, or find someone who can help you understand this. 

I talk to sellers all the time and am shocked by how little they know about their business. Think about it this way: You need a recipe to bake a cake. You don't just start throwing eggs and flour in a bowl and hope for the best. You need blueprints to build a house. You don't just start nailing boards together and stringing electrical wire haphazardly. But this is what I see on eBay. Sellers throwing stuff up for sale with no plan and with arbitrary numbers of what they think they can achieve with no roadmap to get there. Something like:

I'm gonna go to the thrift store and get stuff for $2 a piece and sell it for $25 and make a bunch of money.

Sorry folks, it just doesn't work that way. The blunt truth is:

YOU WILL FAIL AT ANY BUSINESS IF YOU DO NOT KEEP RECORDS AND DO NOT KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. 

You need to know two critical pieces of information about your eBay business. You cannot guess, you must do the research and KNOW. 

1. Average profit per item

2. Percentage of listed inventory sold each month

Let's remember that sales is NOT the number to strive for. Sales don't pay the bills, profit does. You could sell $10,000 in jewelry but if it cost you $9,999 you aren't making any money. If you ever watch Shark Tank, contestants will go on the show and throw out huge numbers about their sales, and the first thing the Sharks ask is, "How much did you keep, what is your profit per item?"


So, you need to know average profit per item. That is why you should devise some kind of system to track your sales, per item. Yes, per item. This is tedious and takes time, but it is necessary to make wise decisions about your business. Do it however you like. (Or use this spreadsheet I have been using since 2011.) Look at a 3 month average, 12 month average if possible to account for all the cycles in a year. 

Next, you need to know the percentage of your TOTAL LISTED inventory that sells every month. Unlisted stuff doesn't count, because nobody can buy it and you aren't paying fees on it. (Get that stuff listed so it can sell!) So if you have 500 items listed, and you are selling 50 items a month, you are selling roughly 10% of your inventory (because you are also buying and adding to it, but close enough for our purposes here).

Then, you work backwards with information you already have to figure out what you need to do to get to your goal. 

Let's look at some examples - assuming sellers are using 30 day fixed-price or GTC listings.

Scenario #1

Rebecca sells clothing and her average profit  per item is $18.  She keeps about 200 items listed at all times, and sells 30 items a month.  Using these numbers we can figure her monthly profit:

She is making $18 x 30 = $540 a month and selling 15% of her listed inventory.

She wants to get to $2,500 a month profit. So, based on these numbers we need to figure out how many items at $18 profit each she needs to sell to reach $2,500.

Divide desired profit number / profit per item:

$2,500 / $18 = 139 items 

Then we need to look at how many LISTED ITEMS will support that number if 15% of them sell every month, because that is her sell through rate:

15% of X = 139

X = 926

She needs to consistently keep 926 items listed, sell 15% of them (139 items) and maintain her $18 per item profit to reach $2,500 profit per month.

$18 x 139 = $2,502

Scenario #2

Maggie sells craft kits. Her average profit per item is $10. She keeps 350 items listed at all times, and sells 100 items a month. Using these numbers we can figure her monthly profit:

She is making $10 X 100 = $1,000 a month and selling 29% of her inventory.

She wants to get to $3,000 a month profit.

Divide desired profit number / profit per item:

$3,000 / $10 = 300

Then we need to look at how many LISTED ITEMS will support that number if 29% of them sell every month, because that is her sell through rate:

29% of X = 300

X = 1,034

She needs to consistently keep 1,034 items listed, sell 29% of them (300 items) and maintain her $10 per item profit to reach $3,000 profit per month.


Alternative to Increasing Number of Items in Inventory

The alternative to increasing number of items sold is to increase profit per item - find more expensive things to sell. You are doing the same amount of work on a $10 item that you do on a $100 item. This is why I encourage diversifying and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It is much easier to sell a wide variety of things to people around the globe than to specialize in one narrow niche with only a few customers. 

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Will Using eBay's Vacation Setting Hurt my Store and Sales?



Great question from reader Heather B:

"Will going on vacation hurt my store …. I have read people going on vacation and never recovering in the sales dept." 

I recommend changing handling time and leaving your listings active. eBay store vacation setting has 2 modes - one where your listings are hidden and one where they are active, and you can add a note about your return.


The note should say, "We are away until XX, and will resume shipping on XX." Buyers (who read it) will know exactly when to expect their item to be shipped.

Change your handling time to what you need to cover the time you are gone.

Whenever you do get a sale during your vacation time, always message the buyer to make sure they understand there is a delay in shipping. Some will cancel the order, which is better than getting low DSRs or negatives.

But some will be fine with it. Also, take a screen shot of your vacation and handling time settings so that if anyone does ding you for slow shipping, you can show eBay that your store was on vacation and your handling time was XX, and they can remove anything derogatory from your account.

This is definitely more trouble than just hiding your listings, but it is all about sales, right?

I have never hidden my listings when away, just added a note and increased handling time. I don't mind spending the time shipping all the sales that helped pay for the vacation!

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How to Put Your eBay Store on Vacation

When is it Time to Open an eBay Store?

Selling on eBay When Thrift Store Prices are Too High